Thursday, October 17, 2013

131017 Main Ingredient's MENU - Robertson, Cape Legends tasting, Chenin Blanc Summer Showcase, Traffic woes, Veritas Tasting of the Award Winning Wines, How to Cook Venison? Long and slow, Green wall garden

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Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
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Spirit of Victoria is a traditionally designed 58ft Gaff Rigged Schooner. She has operated from the V&A Waterfront since 1991 and has become one of the most recognisable Charter boats in South Africa
In this week’s MENU:
* Wine on the River in Robertson
* Cape Legends tasting
* Chenin Blanc Summer Showcase
* Traffic woes
* Veritas Tasting of the Award Winning Wines
* How to Cook Venison? Long and slow
* Green wall garden
Follow this link to see our Main Ingredient blogs, because to tell our whole story here would take too much space. Click on Bold words in the text of this edition to open links to pictures, blogs, pertinent websites or more information.
This week’s Product menu: We have new stock of chestnuts, in cans and jars and have replenished our stock of the ever popular truffle oils. Patés have been selling well, especially the delicious French duck rillette, and we have more of those in stock too. They’re in our shop. See it here
Our market activities Come and visit us at the Old Biscuit Mill’s wonderfully exciting, atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday and every Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00. Tip: Some visitors tell us how they struggle to find parking. It’s quite easy if you know how. Click here for a map which shows where we park.
As usual, we have a link at the bottom to our calendar of wine and food related events which should interest all lovers of great food and wine and events which promote them. We have always had a few from centres outside the Western Cape, but we now have enough to justify a separate list, so, if you live in one of the other splendid places in our lovely country, have a look. If you are promoting an event in any of these places, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
Wine on the River in Robertson     We will visit this super festival over the weekend and hope to see many of you there. Weather forecast is good, the wine always is. It’s only a 2 hour drive from Cape Town and the festival starts at 11am on Friday and runs through to Sunday afternoon. We will be there on Sunday.
Cape Legends tasting     The Lookout is a huge prefabricated building on top of what is possibly the next site to be developed at the Waterfront, overlooking Granger Bay. It was the location of the Cape Legends annual trade tasting of wines marketed by Distell. They tried out an innovative way of tasting on Thursday when they grouped all the varietals together instead of by brand. So you could taste all the Sauvignons Blanc together, then move to the Chardonnays, Chenins and onward to white blends and then all the grouped reds. It did mean that wines of very different prices and quality were being tasted together, not always a positive. They put extremely informed people behind each table and we suspect a great deal of briefing went on before hand as the winemakers for Durbanville Hills or the rep for Lomond also knew all about the other wines, so well done.
They cover many of our iconic South African brands, some still to the forefront, others have slipped a little behind and others are just good commercial blends. We had some interesting snacks, some speeches and tasted lots of wine and talked to a lot of wine people. Nice to have tables with olives, patés, cheeses and breads to help yourself from as, when you taste a lot of different wines, you do need to line the tum occasionally and chasing passing canapés when in mid conversation is not always ideal. See pictures here
Chenin Blanc Summer Showcase     You probably know by now how fond we are of Chenin Blanc, the wine we think can bring South African wines to the forefront overseas, so it is always a delight to be invited to taste them. On Friday, we were guests of the Chenin Blanc Association at the Cape Grace Hotel for a tasting of some summery Chenin Blancs and lunch. We had a guided tasting of five flights of wine, 21 Chenins in all, one of which was an MCC sparking to welcome us, led by Corlea Fourie of Bosman Family Vineyards, followed by an excellent lunch where we could taste our favourites with the four courses. It was a wonderful experience and all the wines were a treat. Notable is the reasonable prices of most chenins. They started at R30, the average was about R57 and the most expensive was only R85 a bottle
The first flight of wines gave us two we especially liked, Simonsig 2013 – whiffs of lees and full of greengages and limes and has Loire-like elegance and, a perennial favourite in our shop, Perdeberg 2013, which is still a steal at R35 a bottle from the winery. It is lively, has good depth of flavour and goes well with summer food. In Flight 2 Beaumont jumped out. Perfumed plums on the nose with golden plums and apples on the mouth and it kept on opening up during lunch. Flight three, the Mulderbosch 2012 Steen op Hout with its toasted brioche, buttered popcorn and golden loquat fruit, with a little Pastis on its long end especially impressed, as did De Morgenzon 2013 DMZ with herbal green almost fig leaf nose; it gives a full mouthful of fruit with a long lime and lemon end. The Graham Beck 2013 The Game Reserve Chenin has rainwater on a hot road on the nose and clean tropical peardrop and honeysuckle favours on the palate. Flight four had four high scoring wines, many showing minerality, richness and depth and some French style notes. The Rijk’s Touch of Oak 2011 has a rich, rounded sunny nose with a touch of vanilla. The wine tastes of pears and limes and the wood adds support. It is definitely a food wine. Flight five had two Chenin blends and for us the crowning wine of the tasting, the singular Cederberg Chenin Blanc 2012 with guava, asparagus and fynbos on the nose, is lean and linear, crisp and dry. It is very elegant and fills the mouth with layers of white peaches. Lynne did enjoy Adam Mason’s (winemaker at Mulderbosch) 2012 Ka Pow Chenin from his own Marvelous Wine brand, a blend of Chenin, Chardonnay and Viognier, which he has made with input from chef Peter Tempelhoff.
And then we come to the food. Executive Chef Malika van Reenen really pulled out all the stops. A starter of huge seared scallops in an orange glaze went amazingly well with Mulderbosch Steen op Hout and was a huge treat as we get few of these in the Cape and, often, they are small, cut into slices and overcooked. These were served whole; they were perfectly cooked, still succulent and redolent of the sea, caramelised on the outside and complimented by the orange glaze. The ham crisp was fine, but we didn’t think the rather strong parsley purée added much to the dish. We were given only one each and liked them so much we strategised how to get some more. Lynne admits she suggested we hide the spoons they were served on so the waiters would think we hadn’t yet had our first course - they were that good! Of course, we didn’t do that.
The next course was octopus, which had been slow cooked, then assembled with the tentacles laying parallel in a round sausage shape, so it could be sliced thinly across the grain to show the round shape of the tentacles – looked like an ancient mosaic. This was served in a thin slice and tasted a little of crayfish. We didn’t get any avocado with this as promised on the menu? This was followed by moist and tender perfectly seasoned fresh salmon cooked en croute (in a thin pastry case), which we can forgive being a little bit undercooked, because to give the pastry any more time in the oven might have dried out the perfect salmon. And this was finished with an iced lime cold soufflé, full of the flavours of some of the chenins, rich and sweet and juicy and crisp. Click here to see the photos. It was a tour de force, done with a delicate touch and without being at all heavy or rich or over complicated.
TRAFFIC STOPPED     We set out on Tuesday just after 5pm for a wine tasting and got stuck in the most awful traffic snarl up in Cape Town. There was an horrendous accident at the start of the N1 motorway, just as people were beginning to go home. A barge on the back of a huge lorry tried to pass under a bridge and was knocked off, crushing a small vehicle which was following. It caused a complete gridlock in town and we were caught at the end of Ocean View Drive, where it joins High Level Road at the top of Strand Street. We were there for an hour as other drivers were being particularly bloody and not letting our lane move out into the main stream of traffic even though there is a traffic light there. Thinking it would save petrol and pollution, John was turning the engine off and only turning it on when we moved a bit, which didn’t happen very often. And then the worst happened as our battery went completely flat. We called out the AA but they were very, very busy with the gridlock and happily a knight in shining armour called Wade happened to be walking home from work. Although visibly tired, he went and fetched his car and jump started us. So we finally got to our tasting at 7.30 and it stopped at 8. A huge THANK YOU to him and his lady Gezina.
Veritas Tasting of the Award Winning Wines     This was the tasting we were headed for and we both ran around the room trying to taste as many of the double gold and more interesting wines we could before they closed. Many people were stuck in the traffic and they did stay open a while longer than planned, so we did have a chance to sample some great wines. Lynne was lucky enough to taste the three extra special aged KWV Museum class Sweet wines: Bin 14 LBV 1930 Red Muscadel, White Muscadel Jerepigo 1968 and Hanepoot Jerepigo 1969. All were thick and syrupy and they still had lots of life and freshness, despite the age. Two Shirazes stood out for Lynne: The Saronsberg 2011 was a delicious mixture of sweet berries and gentle wood, very soft on the palate but with huge aging potential. Also the Tokara Reserve Collection 2010 Syrah – also full of sweet dark fruit and liquorice. The new to us High Road Director’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot is a classic Bordeaux blend, but with added smoky bacon nuances and a nicely wicked kick of bitter toasted wood on the end. All three were double gold winners, as was the Cederberg Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon, full of salty cassis berries with a nice soft sweet palate. David Nieuwoudt is getting awards and deserved recognition left, right and centre for these wines.
John started at the opposite end of the room with a taste of the Zonnebloem Semillon (he wanted to start with the JC le Roux Scintilla, but it was all gone) to get his palate tuned. It is soft and with quite sweet fruit and would be a good starter for people wanting to move away from semi-sweet entry level wines. Lomond Sugarbush Sauvignon blanc 2012 was next, classic green pepper and gooseberry, without the distinct buchu nose we found in its sibling Pincushion at the Cape Legends tasting. He usually finds that he runs out of time to taste the reds, so he moved on to Kaapzicht, where he loved the Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, which has rich, savoury notes under the cassis fruit. He met winemaker Graeme Read who had a glass of his Hillcrest Hornfels Bordeaux blend in his hand. The bouquet was so powerful that it was evident a metre away and he had to taste and enjoy it – rich blackcurrant fruit with an earthy structure to hold it together. Abri Beeslaar had his classic Kanonkop Pinotage with rich red/black cherry nose and palate with a light hint of banana. Hidden Valley’s Hidden Gems Bordeaux blend has rich, ripe upfront fruit and is immediately accessible. Stuart Botha made waves in 2006 when his Eagle’s Nest Shiraz won an Old Mutual Trophy. It was the first screw-capped wine we sold over R100 and it still comes with this ideal closure. Delicious herbal mulberry fruit in the 2010. See some photographs here. You can see the list of Awards, by competitor, here.
After the tasting, we wanted to try one of the newer restaurants in Cape Town, but the first was too crowded and full of smokers, and then we couldn’t find the Kloof St sushi restaurant friends had recommended, so we ended up at our old favourite, Dynasty, for some sushi and hot and sour Szechuan pork strips. As always, excellent service and delicious food.
How to Cook Venison? Long and slow     Not so much a recipe this week, but a suggestion for a simple way to cook this rich but lean meat, which can be tough if not cooked long enough. Suddenly, there is a lot of reasonably priced venison about and we already had some in the freezer. If you are wondering about the best way to cook it, we can suggest that you do what Lynne did with three Springbok shanks this week. She made a mirepoix of chopped onion, carrot and celery and fried it gently till soft in some olive oil, added three chopped cloves of garlic, then some sprigs of rosemary, thyme and oregano; two fresh bay leaves, some good beef stock and then half a bottle of sweet red wine. You can use port if you don’t mind the expense, but we used a bottle of Van Loveren’s Four Cousins Sweet red (R32.99 at Checkers). You will use the rest of the bottle in topping up the dish while it is cooking. Season well with lots of freshly ground black pepper and some sea salt. Cover your casserole or pot and put into a low oven, 150°C, for approximately 4 hours. Check every hour to see that the liquid is not disappearing and replace it with more wine or some water. Serve with steamed mixed vegetables and either some new boiled potatoes in their skins or some mash. Make sure you dish up some of the gravy and vegetables from the bottom of the pot. You can do this with other pieces of the animal or just cubes of the meat, but the cubes will only need an hour or two.
Green Gardening     Lynne is extremely thankful that John is a very talented carpenter and handyman around the house, when he has the time. And this week he has completed a project we have wanted to start before the year got too hot. We saw a green wall garden made with guttering on the Internet and we happened to have some spare PVC gutters around the house. We now have three tiers of guttering on our deck trellis and Lynne, who is the gardener, using our own home grown compost (we recycle all our kitchen waste), is just about to plant it up with herbs, salad vegetables and some other things she uses a lot of when cooking. Watch this space as we will keep you abreast of progress. We have drilled a 2mm hole every 15cm in each of the top two tiers (which angle down about 2.5cm per metre), with drip irrigation feeding to the top tier, one dripper per 20cm. The water drips through to the other two tiers and then out at the slightly sloping end into a tomato plant in a pot at the side.
Buying from us On Line We have a lot of fun putting MENU together each week and, of course, doing the things we write about, but making it possible for you to enjoy rare and wonderful gourmet foods is what drives our business. We stock a good range of ingredients and delicious ready-made gourmet foods. You can contact us by email or phone, or through our on line shop. We can send your requirements to you anywhere in South Africa. Please do not pay until we have confirmed availability and invoiced you, then you pay and then we deliver or post. When you make an eft payment, make sure that it says who you are. Use the form on the website to email us your order. Click here to see our OnLine Shop.
There is a huge and rapidly growing variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. There are so many interesting things to do in our world of food and wine that we have made separate list for each month for which we have information. To see what’s happening in our world of food and wine (and a few other cultural events), visit our Events Calendar. All the events are listed in date order and we already have a large number of exciting events to entertain you right through the year. Events outside the Western Cape are listed here.
Learn about wine and cooking We receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wine. Cathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here.
Chez Gourmet in Claremont has a programme of cooking classes. A calendar of their classes can be seen here. Pete Ayub, who made our very popular Prego sauce, runs evening cooking classes at Sense of Taste, his catering company in Maitland. We can recommend them very highly, having enjoyed his seafood course. Check his programme here. Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has cooking classes in Fish Hoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details here. Emma Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca cooking courses at her home in Constantia. Brett Nussey’s Stir Crazy courses are now being run from Dish Food and Social’s premises in Main Road Observatory (opposite Groote Schuur hospital). Lynn Angel runs the Kitchen Angel cooking school and does private dinners at her home. She holds hands-on cooking classes for small groups on Monday and Wednesday evenings. She trained with Raymond Blanc, and has been a professional chef for 25 years. More info here

17th October 2013
Remember - if you can’t find something, we’ll do our best to get it for you, and, if you’re in Cape Town or elsewhere in the country, we can send it to you! Check our online shop for details and prices.
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
Our Adamastor & Bacchus© tailor-made Wine, Food and Photo tours take small groups (up to 6) to specialist wine producers who make the best of South Africa’s wines. Have fun while you learn more about wine and how it is made! Tours can be conducted in English, German, Norwegian or Dutch flavoured Afrikaans.
Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. Our Avast! ® Anti-Virus software is updated at least daily and our system is scanned continually for viruses.
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